I bought coupons for dinner at U-Enjoy, a new addition to the Richmond Public Market. The place is not very bright or trendy and the seating is a bit cramped, but the ambiance is not bad with an intimate feel to it.
The restaurant is in a category all on its own. Menu offerings range from HK style cafe dishes to Taiwanese style set meals to typical snacks and entrees from different regions of China. According to my rough estimate, there are close to 250 items on the menu. And if that's not enough, the waitress (owner?) told us the kitchen can make anything the customer requests, even if it's not on the menu. Each $8 coupon includes 2 appetizers, an entree and a drink. Since we had 2 coupons, we got to try all 4 appetizers on the special coupon menu.
Korean style pork intestine (韓式燒大腸):
I would rank this second after the beef tongue. I loved the slightly crispy skin and the chewy texture. The intestines were full of flavour with a small spicy kick that enhanced the taste.
beef tongue skewers (串燒牛舌):
The beef tongues were by far the tastiest skewers of all. The meat was firm and slightly chewy, but also very tender and easy to bite through. It had a unique characteristic flavour that was mild and not overbearing.
Korean style spicy pork skewers (韓式五花肉):
Being as fatty as it was, the pork was very tasty and also very heavy. Luckily the portions were really small, otherwise we wouldn't be able to finish it.
Japanese style chicken skewers (日式串燒雞):
The chicken skewers were the least impressive of all. The meat tasted alright, but there was no surprise factor. It tasted almost exactly as I had expected — nothing more and a little less. The meat was incredibly soft, but the sauce left something to be desired.
What a thoughtful detail! Unlike our recent encounter with skewers at Tomoya, we were given a container for our used skewer sticks so we wouldn't have to leave them lying on the table. I have one thing to say about the skewers though. The regular price is too expensive! Each skewer is $1.50, so the skewers we had would have cost us $12 without the coupons.
I went with the HK style milk tea for my drink. The colour was the darkest I've seen, and the tea was accordingly very rich and strong in flavour. The infusion of condensed milk was also prominent despite the strength of the tea. The texture was silky smooth and the taste bordered on bitterness, almost reminding me of an aromatic espresso. But the drink had a serious shortcoming: it wasn't nearly hot enough. If there's one thing that bugs me, it's a hot drink that is served lukewarm.
The first entree to arrive was the Singapore style fried vermicelli (星洲炒米). It was quite authentic apart from the fact that regular shredded pork was used instead of BBQ pork. That was a good thing for me, since I don't really like the flavour of BBQ pork. The prawns were large and crunchy, and the vermicelli was perfectly seasoned with curry powder that was savoury but not too salty.
The hot and sour basa fillet vermicelli in soup (泰式酸辣龍利湯米) was unexpectedly mild. The Chinese name specifically says "Thai style" which immediately brings to mind violently spicy green curry and the like, but the soup was just a tart tomato soup with an almost undetectable hint of spiciness. The lemongrass flavour reminded me a little bit of tom yum soup. There was a lot of fish and a lot of vermicelli, both of which were rather bland. The soup was nice and flavourful though, so I drank all of it and enjoyed the warm satisfaction it gave me.
Apart from the dishes included in the coupon, I got a small order of honey garlic chicken ($6.95) due to FoodForBuddha's recommendation. It was indeed delicious. The golden crispy chicken nuggets with a faint hint of garlic were rolled in honey and served atop a bed of crunchy fried vermicelli. Unfortunately the vermicelli wasn't very fresh, but we could care less since the chicken was the star of the show. The tastiness was comparable to the salty peppery chicken at Beefy Beef, except this was a sweet and wet version.
We were too full to order dessert this time, so I'm putting the sweet sugar taro (反沙芋頭) ($9.95) on my wish list. This Teochew style snack is hard to come across in Vancouver, and the only other place I know of that offers it has closed down. I'm also interested in trying the late night menu since there's currently a promotion. For purchases over $20, customers can choose a dish from several preset options for only $1. Sounds tempting, doesn't it?